Are Your Employees Getting Ready to Quit?

Pensive woman at window

4 Steps for Improving Employee Retention.

Not long ago LinkedIn News sent e-mails to thousands of LinkedIn users asking them their thoughts on the topic of the “Great Resignation.”

This “Great Resignation” has been a hot topic since 2020. For a variety of reasons, including the general levels of stress associated with the pandemic, racial tensions, the election and more, people have naturally been feeling more stress recently and, when that happens, they think about making changes in their lives.

When we are overwhelmed by stressful experiences we often look around and identify what changes we think we need to make to feel better.  When there are major stressors we have little control over, like the pandemic, we look for things we do have the power to change. We may change things in our homes, renovations were popular over the past year, and we might look to change our relationships, lifestyle activities and our jobs. The problem is that we don’t always thoughtfully consider what we are changing, we just pick something to change and run with it!

Is Change Always Good?

Generally, I believe having a growth mindset and embracing change is important. We often know we need a change and don’t know what that is or how to make it happen. We ultimately end up making no change or making changes that don’t help. At times we see other people making a change and we get swept up in making the same change ourselves. That can be a good thing—for example, increasing sustainable business practices or creating a healthier lifestyle.  However, sometimes we make a change and don’t end up with any benefits or, worse, the change has a negative impact, because we did not take the time to consider if the change was right for us.

When the LinkedIn News question arrived in my email I did post my thoughts and so did many other people I knew. Even if your employees are not planning on resigning, it is hard for people to miss the conversation about resignations. If your employees, who have been experiencing levels stress and unhappiness, feel that they could attribute part of their unhappiness to their job, even if they don’t resign this could impact their performance at work. People are complicated!

Why Do Employees Say They Want to Resign?

A number of surveys conducted at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 reported that between 25% and 50% of employees were considering voluntarily leaving their jobs once the pandemic restrictions ease and hiring opens up.

According to the 2021 “Engagement and Retention Report” released by Achievers Workforce Institute 52% of 2,000 employees surveyed in the US and Canada plan to look for a new job.

The reasons for desiring to change jobs were:

  • 36% better compensation
  • 25% better work life balance
  • 16% lack of recognition for their work
  • 8% to find a better workplace culture
  • 5% better values alignment
  • 5% lack of good peer relationships
  • 5% are unsure

As Career Coach and Business/HR Consultant those results did not surprise me. Survey after survey has been asking employees from around the world about their intentions and the data consistently follows the same patterns (long before 2020). While the percentages may change, the reasons people cite are almost always the same. Interestingly, one of the items missing from this list that we usually find on these surveys was a desire for better “career opportunities” support from their employer.

Is the Great Resignation real? That is a good question, I am not sure and I think the jury is still out. In some demographics and some sectors we may indeed see an increase in resignations. Partially, that is a result of new jobs opening up and of employees who have had the experience of working from home who may be unwilling to give up their newly found benefits as remote workers. Many of the surveys I read indicated that millennials and parents of younger children are among the most likely demographics to indicate a desire to resign.

Mindset Matters

Are you concerned about employees resigning?  I have worked with organizational leaders who say that if their employees want to resign so be it, they don’t want to keep employees around who are not prepared to be “loyal.” But as you can see, there is much more to the question of employee resignation than loyalty or even better compensation.

Consider the language you use to characterize the situation to change your own perspective. Don’t think of your employees as disloyal or only seeking to make more money. Consider aligning your perspective with how your employees are feeling and change your language to reflect your understanding that your employees are seeking change and more control in their lives.

Yes, your employees want to be properly compensated and many want to have a better work life balance, but often your employees want to feel respected, valued, considered and connected at work.  Let’s look at the list of why people resign from a new perspective.

What do employees want?

  • Fair compensation
  • Work life balance
  • Recognition for their work
  • Good workplace culture
  • Values alignment
  • Good peer relationships
  • Career options (employers who are invested in helping them with their careers)

4 Simple Steps to Create a Workplace Where Employees Want to Stay

  1. Survey Employees about their workplace needs and career aspirations
  2. Ask Employees their thoughts on how to improve elements of your business
  3. Talk to employees about their career paths and support them in career growth
  4. Be flexible about work structure when you can and transparent about why if you cannot.

It does not take a lot of time to demonstrate to your employees that you value them. A few conversations where you ask questions and listen can be a great way to both retain the employees you value and positively impact their performance in the workplace.

Related content:

Utilizing Cultura and 5 Values for Small Business Success

Adding a New Employee Worth the Expense?

Latino-Owned Businesses Also Need to Put Diverse Hiring into Practice


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